The animals, which used to be an integral part of day-to-day life in Labrador, always captured his imagination. He grew up and moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but he always wanted his own team of sled dogs.
“It’s sad you don’t see it as much here anymore,” he said. “I guess the snow machines have taken over that spot, but you’ll always have people who are still interested in the traditional ways, the old ways.”
In 2004, Hudson got his own team and it wasn’t long before he and his wife noticed an opportunity.
“We just got the dogs for ourselves but people kept asking if they could come along for the experience,” he said. “We get a lot of tourists who are interested in trying out the experience, and locals who haven’t done it since they were kids, or never have and want to experience it.”
They started up their own business, Northern Lights Dog Sledding, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay six years ago and have been making tracks ever since.
They were recognized for their tourism efforts in December 2016 when they were awarded the Best Outdoor Cultural Experience – Regional Award, Atlantic Canada at the fifth annual International Aboriginal Tourism Conference in Membertou, N.S. The conference, organized by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, recognizes the efforts of businesses to promote aboriginal tourism.
“We had some former customers nominate us for the award, which was nice,” Hudson told TC Media. “It was for all aboriginal tourism operators in Atlantic Canada, so to win was a real honour.”
The company works in conjunction with Nunacor, the business arm of Nunatukavut, the Southern Inuit government.
Hudson said Nunacor told him he has the only aboriginal-owned tourism company in Upper Lake Melville that offers winter tourism. That surprised him, he said, since it is such a natural fit for the area and business is brisk.
“There’s so much potential here,” he said. “We’re a prime location for winter and adventure tourism. I think it will only get bigger.”